I am an Assistant Professor of Economics at the National University of Singapore. I work on environmental economics, applied micro, and the digital economy.
I received my Ph.D. from the Sustainable Development program at Columbia University in 2023.
Job market paper:
This paper provides the first causal evidence that hostile activities online cause physical violence. Given the recently documented relationship between pollution and social media, I exploit exogenous variation in local air quality as an instrument for online aggression. An event study analysis shows air pollution increases by 7% when refineries experience unexpected malfunctions. On days with pollution spikes, surrounding areas see 30% more aggressive tweets and 12% more crimes; geographically distant but socially networked regions also see aggressive tweets increase by 3% and crimes by 4.5%. My findings highlight the impacts of social media hostility and contribute to the public debate on cyberspace regulation.
This paper studies the short-term trade-off between economic growth and environmental governance from the perspective of political incentives. In the context of international trade conflicts, we use the U.S.-China trade war as a natural experiment and find that higher U.S. tariffs worsen air quality in China. The city-level analysis shows that a 1% increase in the tariff burden leads to 0.9% and 0.7% increases in SO2 and PM2.5, respectively. Firm-level emission data generate similar results. Interestingly, the hourly monitor-level air quality data suggests that the pollution increases are concentrated at night. We hypothesize that the surprising findings can be largely attributed to the lenient environmental policies adopted by local governments when faced with the risks of economic downturn. We provide suggestive evidence that cities more exposed to the U.S. tariffs attach less emphasis on environmental regulations in local government reports and charge fewer fines on firms violating environmental regulations. Cities with native and older party secretaries and areas closer to province boundaries experience a less severe increase in pollution during the trade war. Our findings are relevant as China scrambles to maintain growth in the face of economic headwinds.
Douglas Almond, Xinming Du, Anna Papp (2022). Favourability towards Natural Gas Relates to Funding Source of University Energy Centres. Nature Climate Change.
Douglas Almond, Xinming Du (2020). Later Bedtimes Predict President Trump’s Performance. Economics Letters, 197: 109590.
Douglas Almond, Xinming Du, Valerie Karplus, Shuang Zhang (2021). Ambiguous Air Pollution Effects of China's COVID-19 Lock-Down. AEA Papers and Proceedings, 111: 376-80.
Xinming Du (2023). Competing with Clean Air: Pollution Disclosure and College Desirability. Ecological Economics, 204: 107631.
Douglas Almond, Xinming Du, Alana Vogel (2022). Reduced Trolling on Russian Holidays and Daily US Presidential Election Odds. PLOS ONE, 17(3): e0264507.
Junjie Zhang, Zhenxuan Wang, Xinming Du (2017). Lessons Learned from China's Regional Carbon Market Pilots. Economics of Energy & Environmental Policy, 0(2).